Everything You Need to Know About Configuring IPMI With IPMICFG

In this article, we’ll provide a brief overview of how to configure IPMI using IPMICFG. IPMI (Intelligent Platform Managment Interface) is used to gain out-of-band access to a server. This is useful in cases where the operating system fails to boot, or network settings are configured incorrectly.

IPMICFG was created by SuperMicro, but it’s also compatible with most Dell and HP servers. The utility is flexible, and includes versions for Windows, Linux, and DOS. In this quick guide, we’ll demonstrate the basic configuration of IPMI through DOS.

Setup and Installation

  1. Download Rufus, this will be used to create a bootable USB drive: https://rufus.ie/
  2. Select the USB stick you wish to use, and then select “FreeDOS” under boot selection
  3. Press Start, and wait for Rufus to erase and write FreeDOS to your USB drive
  4. Download IPMICFG from Supermicro’s website: https://www.supermicro.com/SwDownload/SwSelect_Free.aspx?cat=IPMI
  5. Unzip and copy the directory labeled “DOS” to the root directory of your newly created FreeDOS Drive
  6. Finally, boot into your flash drive and “cd” into the “DOS” directory
By default Rufus includes FreeDOS.
Moving the IPMICFG utility to the FreeDOS USB drive
Drag the DOS directory from the zipped file into the root of the FreeDOS USB drive

IPMICFG Help Command

IPMICFG contains a built-in help command, it will list all of the commands that can be used. If looking for a specific command or flag, this command will list it:

IPMICFG.exe -help

Viewing Existing Settings

If your server already has IPMI configured, you may view the settings by using the related flag:

IPMICFG.exe -m

Network Configuration

Most datacenter environments have a dedicated network for IPMI access. This ensures better security and accessibility. Most IPMI implementations are fairly buggy, and thus are prone to many vulnerabilities. Do not use a public IP address for IPMI, doing so will make your server vulnerable to attacks.

In most cases, we need to set an IP address, network mask, and a gateway. You can assign them using the following commands:

IPMICFG.exe -dhcp off
# Disables DHCP, this is necessary to set a static address

IPMICFG.exe -m
# Sets the IP adddress

IPMICFG.exe -k
# Sets the subnet mask

IPMICFG.exe -g
# Sets the network gateway

Adding and Modifying Users

In order to access the IPMI web interface, or connect using SuperMicro’s IPMITOOL, a user account needs to be configured:

IPMICFG.exe -user list
# Lists existing user accounts

IPMICFG.exe -user del <user id>
# Deletes a user

IPMICFG.exe -user add <user id> <username> <password> <privilege>
# Adds a user with the specified flags. User ID 2 is the default administrator
# Privilege level 4 is the highest

IPMICFG.exe -user setpwd <user id> <privilege>
# Sets the user password
# Specify user ID 2 for default administrator
# Use privilege level 4 for administrator

IPMICFG.exe -user help
# Provides additional information

IPMICFG.exe -user add 3 superuser password123 4
# Example of creating a user account on the system

Additional Commands

In some cases, the IPMI interface may fail to respond, or will not accept commands. Each brand and model of server has its own quirks, and you’ll likely figure them out pretty quickly. Use the commands below if something isn’t working right:

IPMICFG.exe -r
# Use this to "reboot" the IPMI interface. This does not reboot the actual server

IPMICFG.exe -fd
# This resets the IPMI interface to factory defaults

IPMICFG.exe -ver
# Get IPMI interface version

For more information, check out SuperMicro’s IPMICFG user guide: https://wiki.chipp.ch/twiki/pub/CmsTier3/WNsSuperMicro/IPMICFG_UserGuide.pdf.

Connecting to IPMI

Finally, attempt to connect to the set IP in a web browser. Once connected, use the credentials previously set to log in.

The IPMI web GUI used for management

You may also connect to IPMI through SuperMicro’s CLI-based ipmitool, which we’ll detail this in a future guide. If you’re using this guide as a result of locking yourself out of your system, check out our CentOS password recovery post.